Oregon Takes Small Step Forward in Protecting Kids from Tobacco

July 08, 2013

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For the first time, Oregon will start to use some tobacco settlement funds to protect kids from tobacco. Over the next 2 years, the state will allocate $2 million per year for the Tobacco Prevention and Education Program (TPEP). Added to the $7.5 million Oregon currently spends on tobacco prevention, the new funding will bring Oregon's total funding to $9.5 million a year.

While this increase is a step in the right direction, it’s still far short of the $43 million the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends spending on tobacco prevention and cessation programs per year.

Oregon needs to spend more settlement money on these programs. The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement between 46 states and the tobacco companies was finalized in 1998. Since then, not one penny of the $1 billion Oregon has received in settlement funds has gone towards tobacco prevention. Tobacco prevention is a smart investment that will keep kids from smoking, save lives and save money by reducing tobacco-related health care costs.

We applaud the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement Coalition who worked tirelessly to ensure tobacco settlement dollars went towards tobacco prevention.

Each year, tobacco use takes a major toll on Oregon. With tobacco use being the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., killing more than 400,000 people each year, it’s time all state leaders start acting and take measures to protect kids from this deadly path.